I am starting to breathe a little easier now that I have taken care of some of the more daunting items in dealing with this brain tumor, namely that I am not going to die tomorrow (unless there is an asteroid strike, in which case tumors are the least of our problems). Also knowing that surgery is the path I’ve chosen, and having the surgeons and dates squared away, I need to focus elsewhere.
One of the bigger impediments I’ve found so far is “quieting” my mind. I’ve got to be honest, there were a lot of times I start to drift to “what if I don’t wake up from surgery”, “who will take care of Jen & Odin”, “will I be in extreme pain”, etc. etc. These kinds of thoughts are extremely challenging to navigate away from.
The reality of it is 10 plus hour brain surgery is scary and serious stuff. It is natural to go to these places in my opinion and it is hard to fully be able to rid yourself of negative thoughts. However, distraction and positive thinking have gone a long way for me so far. Thinking about, or spending time with my wife and son are certainly sure fire ways to bring me to a happier place. I plan on writing on this further and in greater detail at a later time, but for now will focus on a physical distraction.
In order to prepare my body for the stress that is a prolonged exposure to anesthesia and brain surgery, I want to ensure I am doing everything in my power to improve my health. While I am not an obese person, I do happen to enjoy food. More specifically PIZZA, beer, and sweets. However, this kind of eating stresses out the body and makes us feel sluggish. I am an extreme example of this, as I’ve been battling with fatigue my entire life. The answer for me to address this, and distract me with a more positive purpose is the Paleo diet (or “caveman” diet). Basically, eliminate processed foods, sugars, and carbs in exchange for vegetables, fruits, and healthy meats and proteins (only foods that our caveman ancestors would have had access to). So no more pizza or frozen dinners from here to surgery.
After being on the diet now four weeks, I have lost close to 20 pounds, and have amazing amounts of energy! Not everyone may need to go to this extreme kind of diet, or your surgeon may not want you to lose weight. However, I can vouch that just eating healthier foods is a plus heading into surgery for anyone. A bigger component for me has been that instead of dwelling on the upcoming surgery and possible negative outcomes, I am thinking about eating healthy and how that is going to give my body an advantage once I am in the operating room.
Positive thoughts are more likely to give birth to positive outcomes.